New program enacted to help Maryland farmers conserve electricity

The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) announced this month that a new energy efficiency program aimed at helping the state's farmers will be named for longtime public servant Kathleen Mathias.

Mathias was a resident of Ocean City for many years, where she raised her family and lived with her husband, Senator Jim Mathias. She passed away after a long battle with cancer on August 15, 2011. The MEA officially dedicated the Kathleen A.P. Mathias Agriculture Energy Efficiency Program on the anniversary of her death in a ceremony attended by state officials and family members.

"We often talk about how you live your life and how your life can be an inspiration, but to have this announcement come on the very day we were celebrating her eternal life is very special," Senator Mathias told the Maryland Coast Dispatch.

The program aims to give $1 million in grants to the state's agricultural workers to improve their environmental impact and lower their monthly utility bills. The money will help fund solar panel installations and wind farm construction projects. Eligible companies will receive individual grants ranging from $25,000 to $200,000 to help finance these energy overhauls.

MEA Secretary Malcolm Wolff informed the source that the state hopes to reduce its total energy consumption by 15 percent, and that this program is one of several initiatives the administration hopes will help the state meet the 2015 deadline set out by the group.

Maryland residents who may not qualify for one of these grants can still do their part to help the state meet its energy goals by seeking a home inspection. This will help homeowners understand where they can conserve electricity and prevent waste in their households.